Social Justice and Healthcare Solutions for Families Experiencing Homelessness

Social justice and healthcare are inextricably linked, and an important aspect of social justice is the ability to have fair access to healthcare. Healthcare is not equitable if it is not accessible, and there are still immense gaps in terms of coverage and access for underserved populations, particularly for individuals experiencing homelessness who face many barriers to care. This presentation outlines how we have set out to remove those barriers.

Our innovative Children and Families Program (C&F) healthcare model provides primary care and behavioral health services and wraparound case management to approximately 200 vulnerable children and families experiencing homelessness. All of the children and families we serve are connected with our emergency family shelters; most have experienced high levels of trauma and need intensive services to address their interrelated health, mental health, substance use, developmental, and academic issues. Our C&F healthcare program partners with two physicians: a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician specializing in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders; and a board-certified Pediatrician specializing in underserved populations.

Our program also includes healthcare collaborations with local hospitals and medical groups to help provide our families with vital healthcare services they might not otherwise receive. These include a local university mobile eye clinic; a dental mobile clinic; and parenting health classes. In a new partnership with a local children’s hospital primary care plan, we are now able to refer children to pediatric care. We have also implemented on-site health and wellness educational sessions provided by student nurses.

Speakers: Pooja Bhalla: Executive Director of Healthcare Services, Illumination Foundation; Geeta Grover: The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Session Materials: 

Categories: Community Health Workers, Justice, Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion (JEDI), Mobile Health, Policy and Advocacy, Street Medicine
Tags: 2023 National HCH Conference
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